Former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed he deliberately went against tactical instructions in that famous Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona in 2019.
The Reds came back to beat Barca 4-0 at Anfield, having lost the first leg 3-0 at the Nou Camp, ensuring they went through to the Champions League final that season, which they would go on to win against Tottenham.
They couldn’t have done it without Wijnaldum’s heroics in that huge second leg clash at Anfield, but the Dutchman has now revealed that he deliberately ignored the tactical instructions he’d been given before coming on off the bench.
The 30-year-old, who recently left Liverpool for Paris Saint-Germain, says he was so angry at not starting the game, that he ignored what Jurgen Klopp and his assistant Pep Lijnders told him when they brought him on in the second half.
Although Wijnaldum had been advised to play a fairly defensive midfield role, he insists he only ever planned to go forward and attack – and, in fairness, it worked a charm for him as he scored twice in the space of two minutes to turn the game on its head and help the Merseyside giants towards one of their most famous results.
“Klopp probably spoke to me [during half-time] but I was so angry [at having been dropped] that I didn’t listen to him,” Wijnaldum told the Guardian.
“The only moment I listened to him was when the morning training stopped and he said: ‘Gini, you have to be ready because I need you when you come on.’
“When I did come on, Pep Lijnders [the assistant manager] told me that when we built up I had to come into a back three to get the ball with the wing-backs higher.
“In my head, I was like: ‘No, no, no. I’m not going to do that. I just try to play up front, try to score goals.’ I was so angry that I wanted to do my own thing and, in the end, it helped.”
This will surely be painful reading for Liverpool fans, as it’s clear they’re losing a real character from their squad this summer.